Suspect in Pinellas mosque threat case is sorry

Martin Schnitzler is facing charges in connection with one of two phone calls

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – The Seminole man charged with making threats against a Pinellas County Islamic Center is back home, for now.  Federal authorities picked up Martin Schnitzler at his home on Park Boulevard on Tuesday.  He appeared before a federal Judge Tuesday afternoon.  That judge ordered that he remain in his home.

Tampa attorney Bryant Camareno is now representing Schnitzler and claims his client is cooperating with law enforcement and has expressed remorse for his actions.  “The official report is he did apologize.  Cooperative with law enforcement, allowed them to search and from all indications, there was nothing found.”  Said Camareno from his law library.  “No sort of weapons, no connection to a militia.”

Tampa attorney Bryant Camareno
Tampa attorney Bryant Camareno

Shortly after the attacks in Paris, someone made a phone call to the Islamic Center in Pinellas Park.  “My name is Martin Schnitzler come find me, please. Please report me because I would love it. You’re gonna f—die.”

Camareno has already heard that particular phone message.  A second message was left at an Islamic Center in St. Petersburg, but Camareno says his client has not been charged in that case.

Schnitzler authorized Camareno to speak about the case because he wants the community to know this is not like him.  “it’s completely out of character.  No felony history.”  Said Camareno.  “no violent history whatsoever.  This is completely outside of his character.  That’s why he’s expressed so much remorse.  And sympathy.  Because it’s my understanding the people at that center are scared.”

Imam Saad Slaoui with the Pinellas Islamic Society confirms families are in fear.  “we have a basketball court outside, and we’ve told the children to be vigilant.”  Said Slaoui.  “450 – 500 families attend this center and they are fearful.”

Camareno says it’s too early in the case to speculate on what will happen next, and there have been no future court dates scheduled.

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